The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, met and interacted with a group of over 140 sugarcane farmers at Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi.
The farmers were from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The Prime Minister announced that the Union Cabinet would approve the implementation of Minimum Support Price of 150% of the input cost, in its forthcoming meeting, for the notified crops of Kharif season 2018-19. This would ensure a significant boost to the income of farmers.
He also stated that within the next two weeks, the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane for the sugar season of 2018-19, will also be announced. He said that this will also be higher than the 2017-18 price. It will also provide incentive for those farmers whose recovery from sugarcane will be higher than 9.5%.
The Prime Minister apprised the farmers about the various decisions taken to liquidate the arrears of sugarcane farmers. In the last seven to ten days itself, more than Rs. 4000 crore of arrears have been given to the farmers as a result of new policy measures enforced, the Prime Minister said. He further assured the farmers that State Governments have been requested to take effective measures for liquidation of cane arrears.
The Prime Minister exhorted farmers to use sprinkler and drip irrigation, latest farming techniques, and solar pumps. He urged farmers to install solar panels in their farms as a source of power, as well as additional income. He called for emphasis on value addition of crops. He also urged them to use farm waste judiciously, as a source of nutrients and for additional income. He exhorted farmers to aim for upto 10% reduction in chemical fertilizers by 2022.
The Prime Minister apprised farmers of his recent interactions with corporates, where he has called for greater private sector investment for value addition, warehousing, storage facilities, better quality seeds, and market linkages for improving farmers income.
In the course of the interaction, the Prime Minister also recalled the earlier interventions made by the Union Government in 2014-15 and 2015-16, to ease the burden of sugarcane farmers, who were struggling under a huge amount of arrears worth more than Rs. 21,000 crore. This payment was ensured through sugar mills to farmers.
The farmers thanked the Prime Minister, and appreciated the various steps taken by the Union Government in the recent past, including increase in import duty on sugar from 50% to 100%, and provision of Rs. 5.50 per quintal as performance based grant to sugar mills for payments to farmers, amounting to Rs. 1540 crore. Farmers also took note of Union Government’s intervention to the tune of Rs. 1175 crore as interest subvention support for 30 lakh metric tonnes of buffer stock by mills, to enable payment to farmers.
The Prime Minister elaborated on the Government’s approach for 10% blending of ethanol in petrol, as a long-term solution for providing stability in the sugar industry.